As much as people are getting more used to the notion of buying things online, they are also relying more and more on brands providing information to help them with offline shopping – that is, the location of their stores.
A prominent feature of many successful brands’ websites, the humble store locator has so much more to offer than just a map and some opening times…
THE MOBILE CUSTOMER
We know that people are using smartphones for shopping more than ever – but research suggests that a high proportion of them will be using their mobiles to find store locations rather than ordering online.
Our buddies from schuh have certainly cracked it, and are seeing superb results from a store locator that can easily be used with one hand (on the go!).
Of course, if you have a specific purchase in mind, it’s helpful to know that the store you are about to visit actually stocks it. Using stock-by-store feeds, retail websites can give consumers this visibility, and help them avoid wasted journeys (and encourage profitable ones!). Naturally, having a map is helpful – but do ensure that people can use it across devices, because some maps integrations cause issues on mobile (it can make it difficult to scroll, for example).
On mobiles, too, click-to-call functionality is useful, as the consumer is clearly holding a telephone as they browse your site – and browsing can still be a painful activity for some smartphone users, who prefer to do their more leisurely website hopping on a desktop. Click-to-call function and Google Map integrations should probably take pride of place on a mobile site homepage, if driving footfall is even one of your business aims.
THE NEXT STAGE
There are tons of ways to enhance an on-site (or in-app) store (and stock) locator. Telecoms vendors could tell people where they can get a demo of a live device, since this isn’t always offered.
Brands could consider offering localised GPS in-store. Imagine if a consumer’s digital shopping list was re-ordered on their phone as soon as they entered your building, showing them exactly where to go first and where each item was in relation to their positon? (You could even help them find their car on the way out?) A third of shoppers currently use their smartphones to find information instead of asking store employees; why not give them better digital assistance?
ADVERTISING YOUR RETAIL PARTNERS
Long story short, a store locator is a good idea. Click and collect is often a good idea, where your website functions more as a catalogue than a transaction point.
This is particularly true, of course, when your site doesn’t actually have any ecommerce functionality – think luxury brands and FMCG sites. Indeed, if you are a manufacturer who sells via specially selected retail partners, your retail partners probably have actual shops that customers might like to visit.
But – and this is where it all comes back to making things easy for consumers, and the joys of digital commerce – these brands can also do more than just have a super slick store locator to help people buy products from their retail partners.
If your retailers have ecommerce websites, why not direct people to the right product page, or even let them add it to their baskets, from the landing pages on your site?
Consumers browsing products on a brand site are keen. Sure, sometimes they are out and about and looking for a physical store to visit. But other times, they know what they want, and they just want to buy it. Help them, with the smart application of technology. Generate more sales (sending quality leads to your retail partners) and collect more data (on your consumers’ purchase habits) while improving the user experience.
Whether you are a retailer or a brand manufacturer, whether you have an ecommerce site or you don’t, if consumers buy your products from physical stores, your best friend is product data. If you want that to be accurate, comprehensive and optimised, you should speak to us. FusePump collects near-real-time product offers information from our retail clients, and from retailers who sell products on behalf of our brand clients. Basically, we let our clients promote products, and bring their consumers one step closer to the purchase stage (from any channel).